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Bowls NZ has a responsibility to provide leadership and guidance to clubs seeking to improve their operating processes and achieve longer term sustainability.
To date it has developed:
- the ‘Club Plan’ a series of club development modules designed to help clubs help themselves … these are available on the Bowls NZ website (www.bowlsnz.co.nz)
- Club Plan and Operations Plan templates, again on the website, which guide clubs through a sound 3-year ‘futures’ planning and a 12-month ‘what we are actually going to do, and who is going to do it’ operations plan
- an evolving ‘best practice’ resource base which will also progressively be available on the Bowls NZ website
ClubCheck is the new Bowls NZ club assessment tool developed in consultation with a number of centres and clubs. It will allow a club to identify the areas in which it is going well, and the areas where there is still more improvement opportunity. The process will be helpful to recognize the good work already being done within the club as well as to focus the energies into other areas that will likely be of benefit.
A more simplified ‘Club Essentials’ version has also been developed. This option will be available only to rural clubs and clubs with 50 members or less, although such clubs may opt for this more comprehensive ClubCheck version.
ClubCheck assessments may be done either as a self-assessment or by an approved external assessor (eg Bowls NZ Development Officers) in conjunction with a club representative.
ClubCheck has been modeled on the Bowls NZ Club Plan categories which cover four main areas of a club’s operation .. Planning, People, The Club and The Game. Each of these breaks down into a series of elements. Each element has a ‘desired state’ which describes what the club should be seeking to achieve. The ‘evidence sought’ column serves as a prompt to the assessors to check certain club processes to help form an opinion as to how well the club is operating in the particular area. Ideally the ratings to be awarded for each element should be determined by mutual agreement.
Attainment milestones have been set as:
- Bronze*: 60 - 84 points
- Silver#: 85 - 104 points
- Gold#: 105+ points
*Bronze level clubs will be required to achieve at least a rating of ‘4’ in each of the 10 categories making up the “Essentials’ package, ie operations plan, financial management, health & safety, membership, database, sponsorship and grants applications, constitution, coaching/umpiring, greens standard, and competitions.
# Silver and Gold clubs will need to have retained their bronze ratings in the ‘Essentials’ categories. To achieve Gold, clubs will need to achieve a rating of at least 2 in every category.
Clubs achieving bronze/silver/gold ratings during an assessment from an approved external assessor will receive an appropriate Bowls NZ certificate and recognition.
Revalidation of clubs achieving bronze/silver/gold status will be on a bi-annual basis although clubs may choose to be reassessed annually.
The following detail is provided to help standardise the ratings being assigned during an assessment.
Strategic Plan … there is a recommended model on the BOWLS NZ website but this version is not compulsory. A club needs to have a current documented plan which outlines the key areas where the club intends to make a positive difference over the next 3 years or so (Goals) and the steps it will take to do this (strategies). Any such plan must address the key factors affecting sustainability … having enough members and having enough money. The plan should have been communicated to members who have a chance to contribute.
Operations Plan … this is a documented 12 month plan outlining who in the club is going to do what by when. A Bowls NZ template is available. A copy should be available for member information.
Financial Management … the main thing is that clubs know what money is coming and going, and ideally there is more coming than going. Quality information should be available for key areas eg bar profitability. Grant funding as a % of income should be known and revenue strategies being developed to offset expected reductions in this source of income particularly. Progressive clubs should be seeking to maximise revenue from all sources (eg sponsorship/signage/subs) as well as planning for any necessary maintenance and refurbishment work.
Health & Safety … there is a legal obligation to provide a safe environment. An OSH-based template is available on the Bowls NZ website. It is not as intimidating as it first looks. On page 7 the club has to identify its local H&S risks. Clubs should have a well maintained first aid kit and clear emergency action information near the phone to cover such events.
Reporting … It is important that people given the responsibility for achieving certain targets (eg x new members by …, x signs sold by …., x$ sponsorship agreed by …), are asked to report back to the executive on progress to these targets. Where there is slippage some corrective action should be being taken.
Policy and procedures documentation … There is no standard format although a simple task template is available from the CDO’s. The main thing is that a club is getting key info out of people’s heads and onto paper so there is some continuity if the key person is no longer available to pass on that information.
Job descriptions … sample JD’s are available on the Bowls NZ website. At executive level identified people should be allocated primary responsibility for over-viewing or convening key club operations.
Risk Management … A risk assessment template policy and register is available on the Bowls NZ website.
Succession planning … The first job in the sample job descriptions is to ‘find a backup and train them’. Clubs should have identified the key positions where specialized backup is more critical and be taking active steps to identify/train/mentor suitable successors.
Membership … An individual convenor should be primarily responsible for driving membership recruitment. The club should have thought about how to let the community know they are there, and the membership options that exist, have given them a chance to experience the game, thought about the incentives for new and existing members, and have welcoming processes (buddy system, membership approval letter). Following up the social bowler database should be standard.
Communication … the measure is the proactivity and extent of the executive’s interaction with their members. E-mail communication should be increasing. Maintenance of timely and relevant noticeboard information is an area often overlooked.
Database … primary information is membership registration detail as well as the contact information (including mobile number and e-mail address) of registered social bowlers for marketing/recruitment purposes.
Disability … club should have a documented ‘No Exceptions’ plan, a template of which is on the Bowls NZ website. ‘No Exceptions’ educational material is available from the Regional Sports Trusts.
Volunteer Management … the documentation of the way a club does its various roles makes it easier to recruit/develop and retain volunteers. A range of recognition methods should be in place to show a club does not take its volunteers for granted, eg newsletters, after-match announcements, more formal letters, executive minutes, shouts etc. A police vetting process should be in practice for active youth coaches.
Sponsorship … the club should have a philosophy of creating/maintaining long term win/win relationships with its sponsors. This includes reinforcing members responsibility, having sponsor feedback processes (eg collection of receipts), hosting of sponsors (and perhaps their staff) at the club. Signage should ideally be sold on a renewable cycle basis (say 3 yearly) rather than permanent. Support of national sponsors should be in the form of promoting their product/offers on noticeboards and supporting their products where appropriate.
Marketing … the club is taking steps to promote and present itself positively. Proactivity in contacting local community papers, and making the club entrance welcoming are also areas to consider.
Website … the timeliness and quality of the club website information is important. Bowls NZ is liaising with Sporting Pulse to develop a package of services including the provision of a free club website option.
Grants Applications … sites to access trust websites are listed in the Bowls NZ grants module which also shows the application process detail.
Constitution … the club should be conducting periodic reviews and the latest constitution should be consistent with the Bowls NZ club model.
Coaching/umpiring … clubs should have recruited a sufficient number of accredited and active coaches and umpires.
Greens … clubs should be taking a planned approach to develop and maintain its green(s) to the desired standard including the periodic use of formal greens evaluations. Where necessary, outside expertise/advice should be being engaged to improve the playing surface. A formal evaluation of at least ‘Club’ level is required to achieve an award.
Casual/social bowls … club programmes should provide opportunities for structured social community bowls events to encourage greater participation/revenue. Clubs should be charging casual and other ‘pay for play’ bowlers at reasonable market rates, not undercharging. Contact info should be collected wherever possible.
Youth Bowls … efforts should be being made to form a link with teachers in any local schools. Responsibility for this should be clear. Efforts should be made to enhance the initial experience of any interested youth bowlers eg smaller bowls, membership incentives, youth friendly coaches.
Competition … the club programme builds in as many innovative events as possible to meet the needs of all current and potential members/participants